New Evangelization and Life and Family Issues Discussed at Plenary Assembly of Canadian BishopsFriday, October 29 2010
(CCCB – Cornwall, October 29, 2010) – The annual Plenary Assembly of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) ended today after some 90 Bishops gathered for a week (25-29 October 2010) at the NavCanada Centre in Cornwall. This meeting is an important event in the life of the Church in Canada. Relations with Muslims and interfaith greetings and reflections were at the heart of the first session.
In addition to reviewing the work carried out over the past year by the various CCCB Committees and Commissions, the Most Reverend Gianfranco Ravasi, President of the Pontifical Council for Culture, was invited to address the Assembly over two sessions on the theme of “New Evangelization and Contemporary Society.” Each of these sessions was followed by lively discussions among the Bishops and the soon-to-be Cardinal Ravasi.
“The Christian notion of truth is founded on the transcendence and objectivity of reality. Truth precedes us and exceeds us. We do not possess the truth, we are possessed by it,” explained Archbishop Ravasi.
During their meeting, the Bishops reflected seriously on the international sexual abuse crisis, and asked the Permanent Council to conduct an evaluation of how the Conference could best continue to reflect on this issue.
They also had an in-depth discussion on parish renewal and various means of integrating young adults into Church life. This will be an ongoing study for the Bishops. “How to bring the Word of God in today’s society is fundamental,” said the Most Reverend Pierre Morissette, Bishop of Saint-Jérôme and President of the CCCB.
As a follow up to their work, the Bishops of Canada have called for a new Standing Committee to advise the CCCB and the Canadian Catholic Organization for Development and Peace (CCODP). This new Committee will further strengthen the close bonds that already exist between the Bishops and CCODP. It will provide a forum to share information and collaborate more closely on achieving their common goal, which is to help the world’s most vulnerable persons. A more detailed report containing further information on the work of the Ad Hoc Committee and the duties of the new Standing Committee will be released before the end of next week. The Bishops have left Cornwall for Montreal to celebrate the Mass of Thanksgiving for the canonization of Saint Brother André.
During the Plenary, the Bishops also received the report from the Ad Hoc Committee for Life and Family. This Committee had been formed last year to discuss the leadership role of Bishops in promoting a culture of life and family.
“The Bishops need to exercise real leadership on questions of life and family,” said the Most Reverend Ronald Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London and Chair of the Ad Hoc Committee. “These questions require a spiritual revival, a change of hearts. It is the work of the new evangelization.”
As a clear signal of their commitment, the Bishops voted to extend the term of the Ad Hoc Committee by at least one year. During this time, the Committee will reflect on a specific structure and concrete plan for future action, which would rely also on the resources, support and work of the Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF).
The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) is the national assembly of the Bishops of Canada. It was founded in 1943 and officially recognized by the Holy See in 1948. After the Second Vatican Council (1962–65), the CCCB became part of a worldwide network of Episcopal Conferences, established in 1965 as an integral part of the life of the universal Church.